Program Contents: 45 minute DVD.
Copyright Date: 2008
Fred's Roman Holiday tells the story of an elderly man, who early in life was labeled with a developmental disability, and his poignant return to Rome late in his life. This embodies the lost opportunities of a human being confined to a state facility.
The sequel to the multi-award-winning Fred's Story (1996), in which Alfredo Calabrese described living against his will for decades inside Mansfield Training School - then, one of Connecticut's institutions for people with mental retardation. Fred shared the joy in the freedom of his new life once the institution had closed.
Opening scenes in Fred's Roman Holiday reprise Fred's Story to provide a context for Fred's ordeal inside the institution. But Fred's friend, Gayle Kranz, knew that Fred had a dream that went beyond those in Fred's Story. She had met Fred at Mansfield Training School twenty years earlier and knew that Fred had always longed to go to Rome. To Fred, Italy was a magical place. Three years after the release of Fred's Story she organized this trip.
On the way to Rome, the viewers meet Fred's other traveling companions: Gayle's niece, Neesham; Kathy, an academic in the field of inclusive education; and Fred's close buddy and caretaker, Bob. These people join Fred in his quest to find the office of Benito Mussolini, the disgraced dictator who had become the focus of Fred's mysterious, lifelong fascination. Their collective search evolves into a profound exploration of what sustains a person's strength through years of hardship, loss of identity, and institutional control.
When Fred at last reveals the source of this ironic and misunderstood fascination, the viewer understands Fred's attempts to cope with dashed dreams of romance and freedom. Fred has touched the hand of history, and he would never forget how it felt and how special he knew he was, despite all the world has done to him.